Wednesday, May 6, 2015

ARC Review, Interview and Giveaway: Halfway Perfect by Julie Cross and Mark Perini @Juliecross1980 @MarkTPerini @SourcebooksFire

HalfwayPerfect.jpgBestselling author Julie Cross teams up with Ford model Mark Perini to pen a poignant and gritty YA novel about love and the dark side of modeling and the fashion industry.

Eve's time as a fashion model nearly destroyed her-now she's determined to build a career behind the camera lens. But landing a coveted photography internship brings her face to face with her dark past-and her ex.

While Eve is snapping pictures, up-and-coming male model Alex is launching his career-which, for him, involves maintaining a fake relationship with his (secretly) underage co-star, Elana.

But Alex is falling for Eve, and Eve won't let herself get hurt again. If Alex can pull off a fake love with Elana, can he convince Eve to risk a secret affair with him?


Title: Halfway Perfect
Author: Julie Cross and mark Perini
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 5, 2015


Today I get to welcome both Julie and Mark to the blog for an interview! Take is away, guys!

I heard you met in an unusual way. Julie, how did you reach out to Mark?

The first time I saw Mark, he was in a pdf file emailed to me by the people at St. Martin’s Press. I was given the responsibility of choosing a male model to portray my time traveling hero, Jackson Meyer on the covers of the Tempest series books. Mark was on a skateboard in one of the photos and I knew he would be able to handle the trampoline involved in the photoshoot for the first book cover. Later, just after Tempestreleased in early 2012, my editor had become friends with Mark on Facebook so I decided I needed to “friend” him to. We started chatting about the upcoming Vortex (Tempest #2) cover and we’ve been chatting ever since.


Mark, you are an international model traveling the world, what had driven you to also become an author?

I’ve always been a big reader. A decent novel can be a portal into another world, and a great novel can even change your outlook on life. I think that’s amazing. I wanted to be a part of that. Stephen King was asked what he thought writing is. His answer in his book On Writing was “Telepathy, of course.” And that really struck a chord with me. When you’re writing you are essentially communicating your ideas directly into the mind to the readers. So that’s the basis of why I write…because who doesn’t want superpowers?

What can you tell us about your book, Halfway Perfect?
Halfway Perfect is a Young Adult novel about love and the dark side of modeling and the fashion industry.  Eve Castle’s time as a fashion model nearly destroyed her, and now she’s determined to build a career behind the camera lens. Landing a coveted photography internship unexpectedly brings her face-to-face with her dark past—and her abusive ex-boyfriend/agent. While Eve is snapping pictures, up-and-coming male model Alex is launching his career—which, for him, involves maintaining a fake relationship with his (secretly) underage co-star, Elana. But Alex is falling for Eve, and Eve won’t let herself get hurt again. If Alex can pull off a fake love with Elana, can he convince Eve to risk a secret affair with him? 


Julie, how did you first know the plot of Halfway Perfect?

Well, Mark and I went back and forth with a lot of ideas, but we spent the most time, in the beginning, developing the two main characters, Alex and Eve. Obviously, we knew the two would pursue some kind of romance with each other, but deciding on the personal journey each would take came to us in layers and over a couple months. Mark had a lot of useful real life experience with the struggles people like Alex and Eve might have in their modeling careers and that definitely contributed to the plot. We definitely didn’t have a big epiphany for this story where it all hit at once. It was more, okay write these scenes...and then what happens? In a way if felt like we truly went on this journey with the characters because the outcome wasn’t decided upfront. 


Mark, how close would you say that Alex’s modeling life is to real life? Did you give him any of your experiences?

Alex would be on the upper echelon of male models, he’s a rising star. Everything that happened to Alex could absolutely happen to a model in NYC. We wrote the book in such a way that the reader would feel like an insider. That was really important to us, so we made sure there was a ton of truth and realism in the story.

Eve and Alex’s story is fun with the two of them living and working in New York City. But there is also a very dark undercurrent that runs through the book that involves Eve’s past. Julie, can you talk a little about what the heroine has gone through?

Eve, our heroine is 18 and now a college student. She comes from negligent parents and was forced to grow up quickly when she begins modeling at age 14 and moves from Indiana to NYC. Eve also becomes involved with a much older man, her agent, at 15.

Eve’s past is one of the things I’m most proud of in this book. When I first presented the idea to Mark of having Eve overcome an abusive relationship and showing the healthier, non-toxic relationship between Eve and Alex, I was a little nervous about his reaction. I thought I might scare him away with a more serious issue that primarily, though not always, affects females. I was pleasantly surprised by his positive reception to the idea. Knowing Mark’s reading taste and what he liked to do for fun, I knew that most likely it wasn’t his life’s goal to write a teen book about a girl who was broken down by the older man she dated at age 15. But Mark has younger sisters not too much older than my two daughters and it really became about wanting them, and other young women, to have stories like this to read. To understand what unhealthy love does to a person and also the wonderful things that come from healthy love.

What surprised me most, when creating this backstory for Eve, was the fact that we weren’t pushing believability when we made Eve a model at 14, living and working an adult world. On the male side, the modeling career begins much later, but being around that world, Mark has seen these young girls coming from other countries, no parents with them, completely on their own. If you want to see this up close, I highly recommend watching the documentary Girl Model on Netflix. 


Mark, did you write all of Alex’s first person parts in the story and Julie write for Eve, or was there a different division of labor on this project?

That’s how we started, I was writing Alex and Julie was writing Eve. But then somewhere in the middle that switched. If there was a shoot Eve was involved in I would write that, or if Alex was home with his family Julie would write that. We kind of played off each other’s strengths then we would talk it all through. The book is really a true blending of both our voices.

Julie, what would you say you learned the most from having a co-writer?

Co-writing is really cool. I wasn’t sure how it work out. I mean we just started going and neither of us really knew what would come of the book. It wasn’t contracted on a proposal or anything like that. We didn’t sell it until it was completely finished. Writing can be a lonely passion and it’s nice to have a co-worker sometimes. But I imagine each co-writing experience is unique. I’ve asked a lot of writing partners what their process is and I have yet to find any that are the same.


Mark, what have you learned from the project?

Julie has been such an inspiration/mentor through this whole thing. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from her. When you are writing your first book, (at least for me) the hardest part is getting that validation that what you wrote is worthwhile. Co-writing is amazing in that we’ve both got the same motivation, so our goals are aligned. We both set out to write a story that touched people and had a positive effect. And I thinkHalfway Perfect does that. Having said that, I may be a bit biased. 


And finally, what is up next for both of you?

Mark: I’m writing a speculative YA about a guy named Cole who wakes up from a coma and starts to lose touch with reality. He has two lives--the reality and the dream world. He finds the dream world more alluring. Then of course the sequel to Halfway Perfect next spring!


Julie: Next winter, I have a brand new YA series debuting called OFF THE ICE. It’s basically Friday Night Lights with hockey, set in a small Northern Minnesota town. Next spring Mark and I will have the sequel to Halfway Perfect.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. It's been so great having you both here. Good luck with your future projects!


Brooke's Review:
I want to thank Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my opinion or review.

I will say that I am a huge fan of Julie Cross and will read anything she chooses to write. And I love that she can write in multiple genres and sub-genres! So when she teamed up with Mark Perini to write this book, I knew I wanted to read it!

I have no clue about the modeling world. I only know what I've seen on TV and read in magazines. So I was excited to see what this book brought to light for me.

Eve was a model, but she gave it up for reasons she buries deep, not to mention wanting to go to school. So when she's thrust back into this world, she finds herself floundering a bit. And it doesn't take long for people to realize who they have in their midst. Eve tries hard not to let the rumors of why she left modeling surround her, but they are so hard to fight when she's been pushed back into the limelight.

Then she forms a bond with one of the male models on the shoot, Alex. I loved watching how their relationship grew. No instal-love, no annoying whininess from Eve. Just a pure friendship that gets to blossom into more.

But of course there's a wrench in their romance. One they must work through. One that causes some rough spots for them. And what they go through is dark and gritty and really brings to light things that happen in the modeling world that one doesn't see just by looking at the pages of a magazine.

If you're looking for a quick contemporary read that builds a sweet romance and also opens your eyes to things you might not know much about, then you'll love this one from Mark and Julie.

HalfwayPerfectTeaser.jpg 

Julie Cross is the International Bestselling author of the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, and the final installment, Timestorm (St. Martin's Press). She's also the author of Letters to Nowhere (8/13), a mature young adult romance set in the world of elite gymnastics, as well as several forthcoming young adult and new adult novels with publishers like Entangled, Sourcebooks, HarperCollins, and St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books.

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She's a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. She's a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of her reading and writing credibility's, Julie Cross is a committed--but not talented--long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict. You can find her online via twitter, her personal website, email, facebook, Goodreads, or co-moderating the YAwriters section of reddit.

Author links:


Mark Perini began his career as an international fashion model ten years ago, while simultaneously obtaining a business degree from Seton Hall University. Turns out fashion's hurry-up-and-wait mentality lends itself quite well to writing. Mark is now a New York City based author, and Halfway Perfect is his first young adult novel. He is also a featured author in the New Adult anthology, Fifty First Times.

When he's not working, Mark's traveling the world. He's made a blood pact with friends to see all seven ancient wonders of the world before he's thirty. Four down three to go.

Author links:


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1 comment:

  1. Did they both say there will be a sequel next year? ::dies::

    ReplyDelete

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